Café Tacvba instantly cured our New Year’s Day cruda with a bright glimpse into the future.
The Mexican rockers rang in the first of the year with a brand new single titled “Futuro” and it feels like a much-needed slap to the face after 2016, which was a major buzzkill. “Futuro”, a hypnotic, optimistic track with elements of ranchera, couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
“The relationship between life and death and the perception of time are two themes that ‘Futuro’ explores without solemnity or optimism,” Quique Rangel, Café Tacvba’s bassist and vocalist, said in a press release. “But it also points to a brighter promise if we allow ourselves to recognize the here and now (without the desire to be a self-help song).”
“Futuro” is the second single from Café Tacvba’s forthcoming album, which is set to be released this spring. Last fall, the band released an enchanting single titled “Un Par de Lugares,” their first release in four years.
Ever since then president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa decided to wage a frontal war against the Mexican drug cartels in 2006, gruesome scenes have been found throughout Mexico. Other events such as the capture of El Chapo Guzman and the formation of the Los Zetas cartel has also led to the fragmentation of the cartels.
Whereas in the 1990s and early 2000s the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel has a strict demarcation of their territories, today there are about a dozen cartels that are fighting for control of the main passageway for drugs into the United States, which is by far the largest and most profitable market in the world. This turf war has led to Dantesque violence and suffering. One of the most heartbreaking legacies of the Cartel Wars is the discovery of dozens of clandestine mass graves sprinkled all throughout Mexico. These deaths are the product of multiple local and geopolitical factors, such as the demand for drugs in the United States, the availability of guns North of the Border and corruption in Mexico.
A new clandestine mass grave has been found in Jalisco, Mexico: 29 bodies were left in plastic bags.
Gerardo Solis, Attorney General in Jalisco, said that the discovery is located in the affluent municipality of Zapopan. 13 complete and 16 incomplete bodies were found. At least two of the victims are women and as the site is scrapped more bodies could be found. The bodies were dismembered and dumped inside a total of 119 bags. As reported by Vanguard, the state’s special prosecutor for missing persons cases, Blanca Trujillo, said: “Different body parts are being examined by forensic anthropologists and analysts to determine to what extent the number is going to increase”.
The gruesome discovery was made in the state of Jalisco, home of the increasingly powerful Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion or CJNG.
This cartel is famous for its brutal methods and for the total control they hold over their territory. They are so oblivious to the authorities that they parade through rural roads and highways on trucks marked with their logo. This cartel has been ranked by United States Authorities as one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world.
This is not the first of such gruesome discoveries: on the contrary, mass graves are a constant in contemporary Mexico.
Credit: fosas-clandestinas-mexico-1110×580. Digital image. Sopitas.
In Jalisco alone, multiple burial sites have been found in recent months. As reported by Mail Online: “In July, prosecutors found 21 bodies in the yard of a house near Guadalajara. In May, the remains of at least 34 people were found at two separate properties in Jalisco. In March, workers were removing mud and debris to clear a storm drain at another spot on the outskirts of Guadalajara, when they began finding plastic bags with the odor of dead bodies. In the end, they pulled a total of 20 bodies out of the storm drain”. Almost 2,000 clandestine mass graves have been found in Mexico over the past eleven years. Some of the bodies belong to Central American migrants who are trying to reach the United States in hope for better life.
Some people just disappear and families are left to their own devices when it comes to finding their loved one’s remains.
Credit: Screen capture. El Dia Despues. YouTube
There are over 40,000 people reported missing in Mexico. Authorities are often negligent and missing persons are never found. After families have given up hope of seeing their loved ones alive, they start looking for remains. It takes years to gather clues. Many mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters take matters into their own hands and look for bones, clothes or any sort of evidence in mountains, forests and deserts. This documentary explores the issue.
The state of Coahuila has been the site of unspeakable atrocities
Clandestine mass graves have been found in other states, but Coahuila is infamous for sites, such as the municipality of Patrocinio, that have been described as extermination camps. Families have found multiple remains and clothes that indicate that bodies have been burnt to erase traces. The remains of women and children have also been found.
In 2017, Mail Online reported on the discovery of a site that housed the remains of 3,000 victims: “Activists found the skeletal remains on Saturday after an anonymous tip-off that the area was being used as an ‘extermination center’ by gangsters. They say the bodies were likely dissolved in acid, burned, then broken up with shovels in an attempt to dispose of them. The bodies were burned ‘for hours’, the activists said, with diesel, scrap tires and pieces of wood thrown in to help the blaze.Once the fire was out whatever was left was poured on to the floor where it was smashed to pieces with shovels”.
We have no words for the sheer brutality of these acts.
2019 has been one of the most violent years, if not the most, for Mexico. But most crimes are not reported.
Credit: Giphy. @ViceEnEspanol
According to The Scottish Sun: “This year, the number of deaths attributed to the drug wars between January and June was recorded at 17,000 – a new record”. Let that sink in: 17,000, enough to fill a small arena. Most disappearances and crimes in general, however, are not reported in fear of being targeted by organized crime or corrupt authorities.
For almost 70 years, since Maria Sabina, also known as Santa Sabina, spread the culture around the ritualistic consumption of magic mushrooms in the Oaxaca highlands, the world has been fascinated by these special fungi. The region near Huautla de Jimenez, particularly places like San Jose del Pacifico, has since been swarmed with tourists in the months between July and October, both from inner Mexico and from overseas, who want to experienced the altered states of consciousness brought by one of nature’s most powerful secrets.
So any story about Oaxacan magic mushrooms has to start with the legendary Maria Sabina, the godmother of all things trippy.
Credit: Giphy. @Hamiltons
Maria Sabina was a Mazatec curandera, or witchdoctor. She was well versed in the ancient arts of magic mushrooms and introduced the Western world to their consumption. She soon became a magnet for the rich and powerful who wanted to taste her psilocybin mushrooms. She was born in 1894 and died in 1985, so she saw the world change dramatically during her lifetime.
She allowed foreigners into her healing evenings, known as veladas.
Credit: YouTube / Vice
She became legendary, as City A.M. reported in 2018: “It was here that, in 1955, R Gordon Wasson, a vice-president of JP Morgan and amateur ethnomycologist, consumed psilocybin mushrooms in a ceremony presided over by the healer Maria Sabina. The article Wasson subsequently wrote up for Life magazine – ‘Seeking the Magic Mushroom’ – transformed Sabina into a reluctant icon and caught the attention of scientists including Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary”. What followed is an enduring cult following of the plant.
Mushroom tourism got a boost in the 1960s due to the high profile of some of Sabina’s visitors, who included The Beatles.
As EFE News Service reported back in 2007: “In the 1960s, the ‘high priestess of the mushrooms’ popularized this corner of Mexico located between the capital and Oaxaca city, a place visited by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan at the height of the psychedelic era”. We mean, the place has basically been a Hall of Fame!
Consuming magic mushrooms is an ancient, ritualistic indigenous tradition that remains officially illegal.
Credit: High Times
Spanish friars first reported the use of psychedelic mushrooms in the region. Though magic mushrooms are illegal today, the authorities tend to turn a blind eye. This is due to the centrality to the customs and traditions of the Zapotecs, the area’s dominant indigenous group. Children as young as six participate in the ritualistic ingestion of shrooms.
However, tourism disrupts this long lasting understanding and ritual has turned into business.
The state induced by the mushrooms is supposed to get you in touch with nature: with the soil below your feet and the celestial bodies above your head.
Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.
According to man named Andres Garcia, he was introduced to the ritual ingestion of mushrooms by his grandfather. Just outside of Huautla, the man experienced mushrooms several times. He told High Times: “The first time I tried mushrooms I was 7 years old. And each time after that was different; each time there were messages and messages. Communication with the earth, the universe, the moon, especially the energy of the moon. The mushroom shows you everything—about your errors, your problems, all the good you’ve done, all the bad you’ve done. It’s something personal.”
Even though mushrooms are widely available in Oaxaca they are not for everyone, specially not for those who disrespect the ritual and want to do mushrooms just for some mindless fun.
Credit: Musrooms-in-Oaxaca. Digital image. Own Mexico
The magic mushroom tourism industry has brought an steady income to Huautla de Jimenez, the original stomping grounds of Maria Sabina. As reported by Juan Ramon Peña in EFE News Services, “visitors are greeted when they get off the bus by boys who offer to help them found the hallucinogenic fungi”. The wide availability of mushrooms is un secreto a voces. However, each person’s brain chemistry is different and you need to have an experienced guide to help you on a mushroom-induced trip.
And tourism has put the sustainability of the species at stake.
The lack of regulation translates into indiscriminate picking. Of course, traditional owners of the land are affected and that is just not fair.
Magic mushrooms have a good rep, but they are also unpredictable.
Credit: 2037. Digital image. The Guardian.
Several recent studies indicate that magic mushrooms could have medical benefits in people suffering from mental health issues. As reported by The Guardian earlier this year in relation to a study conducted at Imperial College London: “Magic mushrooms may effectively ‘reset’ the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests”. However, this study was done in a controlled environment. Doing mushrooms can have unpredictable effects that some people have described as a “bad trip”
Note: the consumptions of magic mushrooms is illegal throughout Mexico and only specific Indigenous groups can consume them for spiritual purposes. We do not condone the consumption of illegal substances. This article is for informational purposes only.
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